Episode 29

RRU 029: Christopher Buecheler: "Getting Ready To Teach? Lessons learned from building an 84-tutorial software course"


September 18th, 2018

45 mins 23 secs

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About this Episode


Special Guests: Christopher Buecheler

In this episode, the panel talks with Christopher Buecheler who is a web developer and moved into JavaScript in 2000. Christopher runs his own business, and records and edits videos among many other responsibilities. He also has a lot of hobbies, and guitars are one of them. Check out today’s episode where the panel and Christopher talk about how to form a tutorial course from start to finish.

Show Topics:

2:38 – Chuck: I always am fascinated by how there are a lot of programmers who are musicians.

3:00 – Panelist: Yes, I agree. Coding takes creativity. People who are programmers are surprisingly into different arts where it asks for the person’s creativity.

3:17 – Panelist: Video games, music, cocktails, etc.

4:05 – Guest: Yes, for a while I liked to make beer. My current kitchen doesn’t allow for it now, though.

4:25 – Chuck: So your 84/86 tutorial course...

4:46 – Guest: I liked to be one or two weeks ahead. Now building the entire app, instead of doing it week-to-week.

5:35 – Chuck: What is the process like – building these videos?

5:51 – Guest: I try to focus on MVP products that are super easy, and that aren’t too complicated. For example, Music List. Add albums and artists, and see other people’s lists. It ended up being a long tutorial. The process: I build the app, rebuild the app from scratch, I start with a script, read the pretty version and have the marked-down one for my use. The script goes up as the text tutorial. Do my video editing in Adobe Premiere.

7:55 – Question from panel.

8:52 – Panelist: I have found that extremely hard to do.

9:29 – Chuck talks about his process of recording his tutorials.

Chuck: I don’t have a script; I just walk through it as I am going along. You can get it transcribed, which I have done in the past. I have a license for Adobe Premiere.

11:04 – Panelist: I never recorded a tutorial before but I have written a lot of blog posts. I reviewed it, and reviewing it is a very interesting take. I learn a lot in the process. The things cement in my mind while reviewing. Videos you have the real-time thing going on.

12:00 – Guest adds additional comments.

13:39 – Chuck chimes in.

Chuck: We really appreciate you leaving the mistakes in.

14:11 – Guest: Yes, they watch you debug.

14:20 – Panelist: Most of your tutorials are beginner focused, right?

14:23 – Guest: Yes.

Christopher goes into detail here.

17:13 – Chuck chimes in.

Chuck: My thought is to learn x, y, z in 1 hour.

17:35 – Guest: People are attracted to shorter tutorials. 5-minute React. Don’t build an 84 tutorial course. They are built up to digestible chunks. It’s not wall-to-wall coding, because that would seem overwhelming to me. Let’s learn something in a bite-size chunk.

18:41 – Panelist: Egghead. Because of their guidelines they do good work. 1-5 minutes long tutorials. You can get a good run-down and a good introduction.

19:24 – Panelist: You can find it really easy. You don’t need a 1-hour video.

19:40 – Chuck: Yeah, to break it up in small sections. People will see this in my e-book course.

20:02 – Panelist: Do people give you a lot of feedback? What parts of this React course do people have most difficulty with?

20:21 – Guest: It’s not React based, it’s actually other issues.

210:6 – Guest: Redux.

21:53 – Guest: What’s the best way to use props? Where should I put my Logic versus...

22:15 – Panelist: This is very similar when I teach...

22:46 – Guest: I have seen people say that if you truly see how this works in JavaScript then you really understand how JavaScript works. React can be confusing if you are using class-based components. You have to use binder or error functions, etc. It becomes confusing at times. Another area you mentioned was state: component state or your application state. Two different things, but they interact with each other. Understanding the difference between the two. Should I store it in this store or...?

24:09 – Digital Ocean Advertisement.

24:47 – Panelist: Were you doing this as a side thing? How do you keep up in the industry if you aren’t making “real” projects?

25:25 – Guest gives his answer plus his background with companies, clients, and programs.

Guest: I really wanted to build my own company, when I was thinking of ideas I came across some great brainstorming ideas. I have a lot of traffic coming to these tutorials. I really liked giving something back to the web development community. I liked interacting with people and getting them to their “Ah Ha!” moment. It’s able to support me and helps me moving forward. I follow a ton of people on Twitter – the React team. I pay a ton of attention to what people are looking to learn. I play around those things for my own edification. I pick up some contract work and it helps me to stay current. It’s always a culmination for things. Part of the job is not to fall behind. If you are creating tutorials you have to reteach yourself things as things changes.

28:46 – Panelist asks another question. How do you get new leads and new customers?

20:02 – Guest answers questions.

Guest: I was on a mentality if “I build it they will come.” This isn’t the best mentality. That was not a good approach. I started working with a consultant: how do we get this out to people? No ads, no subscription service. My e-mail list. I have gone from 1,600 to 4,600 people on my email list. Find the people who are interested.

32:52 – Guest: Find your voice, and how you choose to deliver your information. Text? Video? Or both? What do you want to teach? Don’t teach what you think will sell the most. It’s more important to be excited an interested what you are teaching.

34:05 – Panelist: When I am teaching something I try to remember of the feeling when I was learning it. For example, Harrison Ford. What was I thinking? How did I learn this concept?

35:01 – Guest: When I learned React it was because a client asked me to learn it. 4-6 weeks of exhausting terror and me trying to learn this to make useful code for this client. In about that time (4-6 weeks) “Oh I understand what I am doing now!” We are still on good terms today with this said client. When I am trying to learn something, the next level is here is a blog, and comments. There aren’t a lot of intermediary steps. They explain every kind of step. I took a similar approach with my other course. That’s informed by my own experience when learning these different technologies.

37:08 – Guest: Yes – check out my newsletter, and my new resource every week. Follow me at Twitter or my personal Twitter where I talk about the NBA too much. Email me if you have any questions.

38:11 – Chuck: Anything else? Okay, picks!

38:24 – Chuck’s Advertisement for His Course!

39:01 – Picks!